Hundreds of Shark Fans Watch Shark Week Live! With the Harte Research Institute

Contributed Content | Published: July 30, 2019

Hundreds of Shark Fans Watch Shark Week Live! With the Harte Research Institute

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — More than 1,000 shark fans from across the Coastal Bend celebrated Discovery Channel’s Shark Week during the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi third annual “Shark Week Live!” watch party at Brewster Street Ice House on Tuesday, July 30.

“Once a year it’s become a tradition for us to come out of our labs and come down to Brewster’s to answer your questions about sharks,” said HRI Senior Executive Director Dr. Larry McKinney, welcoming the crowd.

Shark Week is known to showcase the powerful and fearsome side of these charismatic predators, but scientists work behind the scenes to provide the research and conservation knowledge that makes Shark Week more than just spectacle. HRI’s Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation, home to the largest shark-tagging program in the western Gulf of Mexico, and Center Director and HRI Chair for Fisheries and Ocean Health Dr. Greg Stunz, have been featured on five different Shark Week specials.

Adrian Hernandez, 7, who came with his family to the event, said he was excited to meet people who had seen sharks in person.

“I want to touch a shark,” he said. There were no live sharks at Shark Week Live, but he was happy to talk to the researchers, too.

Attendees at HRI’s Shark Week Live visited booths staffed with marine science researchers where attendees could ask questions, check out scientific gear, learn to tag and identify different shark species, and see where some of HRI’s satellite-tagged sharks were headed on digital interactive maps.

This year’s event also included a special “Gulf Discovery Zone” showcasing some of the institute’s work studying the sea floor and restoring oyster reefs. There was even a puppet show telling the story of how some of the food web’s smallest creatures on the mud bottom support the big sharks everyone was there to see.

HRI screened past “Shark Week” programming featuring its research team, and held a live “Stump the Scientist” Q&A with shark-themed prizes.

HRI’s goal in working with Shark Week is to help shark conservation and research outshine the image of sharks as fearsome man-eaters that tends to dominate media.

“Sharks are great ambassadors for the ocean,” Stunz said. “Most people are naturally curious about sharks, and it gives us the opportunity to teach children and adults why healthy oceans are key to the well-being of us and the planet. We always say an ocean without sharks is a much scarier place than one with them.”

The Sportfish Center has tagged more than 6,000 sharks in the Gulf of Mexico with the help of volunteer fishermen. For more information on HRI’s shark tagging program and to follow the movements of tagged sharks around the world, visit OCEARCH.org or download the Shark Tracker app for iOS or Android.

Follow the Center for Sportfish Science and Conservation on Facebook and Twitter for more information about Shark Week or visit SportfishCenter.org.

Additional Information

Shark Week viewers will get one more chance to watch the HRI team in action: Two past specials, “Monster Mako” and “Return of the Monster Mako,” which featured Stunz’ research team tagging Mako sharks with special cameras, will be recapped in a new special “Monster Mako: Perfect Predator” airing at 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1.